Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pearlington at Christmas

Recently, I was asked to write the following concerning my impressions of the state of rebuilding in Pearlington.

The request came from Judy Totts of The Gazette, Medina County, Ohio. Please feel free to share it with your own local news media, if you think it appropriate. I have also added it as a downloadable and printable .pdf file, temporarily house under a link to the right. Be sure to add your own contact information, if you send it out.


This weekend past, my wife and I erected a 9-ft. fresh-cut Christmas tree and decorated it; put a large turkey in the freezer for the holidays and braved the malls looking for the perfect gifts. On Christmas morning, we will gather ‘round that tree, open our presents to each other and then sit down to a sumptuous meal before a warm fire. Like many North Americans, it will be a time of family, of giving and of Peace.

Not so, many of the residents of Pearlington, Mississippi.

On this second Christmas out from Hurricane Katrina, many families are still crammed into FEMA trailers, awaiting sufficient resources and volunteer labor to rebuild their shattered homes and broken lives.

Only about 35% of the town has been rebuilt and each day is another reminder of the devastation close at hand and another test of Faith. Many will never tell their children that the gifts they receive this year were once again donated by perfect strangers. They will gather at churches and the Recovery Center for a meal, because the oven in a FEMA trailer can barely hold a chicken. They will take their pride and their dignity and once again put them in their empty pockets for another day.

And they will pray that we are able to get to them soon, that some kindness will find its way to their house, that some Angel will come to make that house a home once again.

It’s not our fault that many of us will be safe and abundant this Christmas, any more that it’s the people of Pearlington’s fault that they will not. At the very least let us be filled with gratitude and take nothing for granted, for some of us know that Life turns on a dime and that nothing is forever.

"Canada Jon" White
Director, C.O.D.R.A.
The Coalition of Disaster Relief Agencies in Pearlington

3 Comments:

At Wednesday, 13 December, 2006, Anonymous Jeanne said...

Powerful, sobering words from one who has been there! Until you have, you cannot fathom the depths of despair that come from trying to find a place in a what has become a foreign land! Thank you, Jon, for telling the world what many do not want to know!

 
At Tuesday, 19 December, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll see you on the 24th. The greatest blessing I could ask for is to spend my holiday with the gracious people of Pearlington.

 
At Thursday, 21 December, 2006, Anonymous Jim and Nancy Thrailkill said...

Jon,
Thanks for your words, which I will borrow as I try to convey the need to those back home who ask why we are spending Christmas in Pearlington working on Vanessa's house, after we've already been here 6 weeks.
We could have stayed the one week we were scheduled for, and gone home saying, "we did a good thing." But in truth it would not have been the BEST we could do, and these people deserve our very best. Not just a few cast-off items, but the best gift we would buy for our own child. Not a half-baked job because we want to be sure to get to lunch on time, but a job done the best we can, the way we would want it done in OUR house.
We cannot afford to do this. But we serve a very big God - an awesome God, and He can do anything we allow Him to do through us. We just have to remember that HE is our provision when we lack resources, HE is our adequacy when our abilities are few, and HE is our confidence when we have no reason to be confident in ourselves.
Together, we can do this!

 

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